Monday, August 31, 2015

Piper the Ballerina

When it comes to Piper and Down syndrome, we’re incredibly fortunate to live here in Denver.  Children’s Hospital, the Sie Center for Down Syndrome, Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association, Linda Crnic Institute, Global Down Syndrome Foundation…  It’s really awesome.  There are clearly benefits to having access to the medical care, sure, but that’s not nearly as fun as this.


Last week, Piper started the Be Beautiful Be Yourself ballet class sponsored by Global.  It’s taught by THE Pat Winders and two other ballet instructors.  And it’s AT Colorado Ballet- a real ballet company.


How cool is that???

Last year, I took Piper to a showing of The Nutcracker and it’s been ballerina twirls ever since.  She and Addy (who has not seen the ballet, for the record) have acted out the Mouse King and the Nutcracker and the Sugar Plum Fairy more times than I can possibly count.


When they first let the class into the ballet room, I’m pretty sure all Piper wanted to do was leap in front of the mirrors.  She ran and leaped and twirled and leaped.  She was in heaven.

Sometimes things are tough.  Sometimes things are really hard and frustrating leaving us both feeling helpless.  But sometimes I get to see this spark and Piper just seems to glow.  I’m so excited that we’ve found something that’s JUST fun.  JUST for Piper (thanks to Nana- Addy and Cody hang out with her while I drive Piper across town.  And home.  THANKS NANA!) 

And the leotards and tights and shoes and ballerina hair? 

Those are just an added bonus.  Because I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a cuter ballerina.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Back to School!


Piper’s been back at school for a couple weeks now, and it’s going well!

I’ve been struggling with “coming out” with the details for this year.  So, I’m going to summarize to give a very “Reader’s Digest” version.

We moved in October of last year.  Piper started full-day, full-inclusion kindergarten in August.  She did great.  She was wonderfully supported and well loved.  She was known by everyone (students and teachers alike) by name. 

And then we moved.

If there was any way I could have transported her to her old school, I would have.  We moved into our neighborhood, in part, for the school, but we loved the old one so much.  New School is one of the best grade schools in the state.  I’ve never heard negatives about New School.  New School is HUGE and covers a large geographic area; I couldn’t wait to find out who else lived in our area.

New School had no desire, no willingness, and no attitude to serve my child.  In my naivety, I’d assumed that people would want my child to succeed.  I never, in my wildest dreams, thought people would push her to fail.

We’ll fast forward to the end of the school year.  We made the excruciatingly difficult decision to pull Piper from school and request a repeat of kindergarten in a different school.  We’ve been working to get Our Kid back since then. 

It’s been wretched.


But it’s time to move onward.  We’ve had a few “trust issues” at THIS New School (frankly for both her and I!), but things are going SO much better!  I hate the idea that Piper’s not at her home school.  I hate the idea that we now have major decisions to make about Addy’s placement for kindergarten next year (because we have to “apply” for kindergarten spots in January! YIKES!)  But, most of all, I deplore that Piper went through what she did last year.  But the new school is excited about having her.  They’re willing to take suggestions.  They’re willing to talk with the professionals we work with at Children’s Hospital.  Most of all, they see her potential, they see her intelligence, they see her worth

We have high hopes for a stellar year.  And I could not be more happy or more excited that Piper’s happy at school again.  Everyone deserves to be happy at school!


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Goodbye, Summer!

School starts tomorrow.


I’m ready.

I’m so NOT ready. 

Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels so conflicted this time of year. 


To celebrate (read: keep our minds busy so we can’t get nervous about tomorrow) we played at the pool this afternoon.  Piper was, of course, in heaven.  Addy was having a ball.  And Cody, who’s been, generally, timid at the pool so far this summer, was surprisingly adventurous and didn’t cling to my side the entire time.


He even wanted the sprayers on, and pushed the button any time they stopped.


It was so horribly bright when we got there, Cody wouldn’t hardly open his eyes.  Ten minutes later, the clouds started rolling in.  Within an hour, we were freezing.  By the time we got changed, drove home, and got inside, we were in the middle of a horrible thunderstorm that was shaking the house in the same instant the lightning flashed. 


Good ol’ Colorado.

But, it worked.  The kids had a blast.  And, the best part of all, went to bed easily tonight.  Here’s hoping things go smoothly tomorrow, and that the tears are minimal.  You know, from me.  And her sister.  Last year, it was Addy who cried on Piper’s first day…


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Ice Cream Sundae Monday

My grandpa and I?  We’ve always been ice cream buddies.  I remember many times that he and I got in trouble for spoiling our dinner (or lunch because, let’s face it, it’s never too early for ice cream…)  So, naturally, we need to indoctrinate the next generation, right???

To celebrate Piper’s return to school, my grandparents had us over for an ice cream sundae party.  Mom supplied the goods.

And according to these faces, they were goods.

100D51006Cody was in heaven.  Although my boy who usually chomps down his raspberries was slightly less in love with the sour-against-the-sweet-ice cream.  It surprised him.  Several times.

Ice cream?  Absolutely.  Whipped cream?  Of course!  Chocolate pudding???  NO WAY!DSC_1018

Once the kids were properly sugared-up, they went crazy outside.  Cody has a “thing” for “bike hats!” right now, so, of course, he insisted on wearing this one.  That was too big.  And that he couldn’t hold up on his baby neck.  He didn’t mind.  DSC_1035DSC_1036













…and then there’s this doozy- a true photobomb of Piper.  I cracked up when I saw her face on this picture…DSC_1037


The girls are generally really good at including Cody in their games.  He’s getting really good at playing “baby” or “dog” or any other of the myriad choices of characters as assigned.  But it always seems like the poor dude is a day late and a dollar short.  Just as he gets settled on something, the big two are off.  He even has a distinct cry for “But wait!  I finally got here and you’re leaving already?!?!  Can’t you play for a MINUTE???”DSC_1038

…apparently they were off to go “camping” with a “picnic.”  Piper even packed a backpack.  I’m sure the pretend credit cards, car, and ball will be very useful whilst in the wild.   DSC_1050

Thanks Grandma and Grandpa and Nana for all the fun!  But next time you load my kids up with sugar, they’re staying the night at YOUR house.  Love ya!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Luke has been dying to put up the tent and camp in the backyard with the kids.  *I* am not brave enough to attempt “real” camping until the kids are bigger. 

We used to enjoy camping. 

I have a feeling that camping with three small kids would kill that enjoyment forever, so backyard camping is the solution for now.

They were very excited about the tent.  Even Cody got in on the action.


While Addy and Cody rough-housed outside, Piper was READY.DSC_0741

…but she was more than willing to get out of her sleeping bag for marshmallows.  Piper would NEVER turn down a marshmallow.  DSC_0752




Cody wasn’t invited to the marshmallow funfest, but didn’t seem to mind.  He did mind not being invited to the sleepover, however.DSC_0770

In the end, there was no “sleep over” to be had.  The wind was awful and the girls decided that camping wasn’t as much fun when the marshmallows ran out. 

Did I mention that I’m not brave enough for camping yet???

Monday, August 10, 2015

I <3 my little girls

Addy comes sheepishly into the kitchen tonight while I was cooking dinner. 

“Mommy- I have something special for you.”  From behind her back she pulls a “bouquet” of spent geranium stalks that I had dead-headed earlier.  “It’s how I say “I love you!””  DSC_0565

Melt your heart, right???

…Then Piper runs from the house yelling “Me toooooo!”

About two minutes later, she comes in bearing a nice big branch of the LIVE geranium plant.  “Love you, too, Mommy!”  And skips away.DSC_0567

Not sure which was my favorite.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Munchkins in space!


You know, just your standard early-morning-cartoon-watching-in-our-rocket-ship-that-we-colored action.  And Addy has her spaceman headband on. 

And yes, Cody had just raided my kitchen and was walking around with the pancake maker. 

All before 6am…

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A-Hiking We Will Go!

I can't believe summer is already coming to a close.  I have no idea how that happened.  Piper goes back to school a week from Monday.
















I'm simultaneously ecstatic, and mourning the loss of slimmer schedules, lax bedtimes, popsicles, swimming...  We ended the year last year in a whole wad of stress.  It’s been so freeing watching the girls blossom this summer.  Now that everyone is in bed asleep, it’s easier for me to say “I just don’t want summer to end!”  …but wait until 10am tomorrow.  My tone may be a tad different…

DSC_0884“Bugs, Addy!  In the cave [hole in the log]!  Look with the magnifying glass!  BUGS!”

So, on our countdown to the school year, we took the kids "hiking" this morning up toward Boulder.  This trail head was awesome with three small kiddos.  No grade, flat path ("sport wheelchair accessible" wins big in my book...), massive amounts of shade, and a stream.  What more could you want?

DSC_0896“See ya!” may be my least favorite Piper-ism to-date.  If she weren’t so dang cute when she said it.

We had an impromptu dinner picnic at the pool on Friday night, so the kids were up late, and were a little tired today.  But we have only four weekend days left before school starts, so, frankly, I didn't care.

DSC_0917Why yes, yes that is my child petting a ladybug.  Gosh I love her!

Piper cared.DSC_0932

Poor munchkin was asking for "lunch at home" by about 100 yards in.  And it was 9:45.

But, she toughed it out (with a few tears) and we made it through.  The many dogs we stopped to pet helped tremendously.  We've been working with the kids on "dog etiquette"- we have two major babies for dogs, and the girls just don't realize that not all dogs like kids.  Piper did great asking "I pet your dog?" and everyone understood her.  It's the little things.


I promised the girls that on the way back, we could go river walking.  Some of my favorite memories are walking the rivers up in Yellowstone with my mom.  (Not my dad.  My dad's bare feet have never seen the light of day.  River walking is not a sport in which he partakes.)

Cody, ironically, could. not. wait.  He was the only one in non-water-friendly shoes, so he got to go barefoot.  He loved it.  DSC_0951

Until he got cold tooties.DSC_0950

Addy couldn’t get enough.  I think she would have hung out all day long if she could.  She’s ready for Wyoming, Nana!DSC_0965


Piper, on the other hand, wasn’t a huge fan of getting into freezing water, thankyouverymuch, and she was more concerned about how much longer until lunchtime (it was now 11, mind you.)  And because she was tired, her sensory issues came into play with the “but we don’t wear shoes in water!!!” argument.  And since Cody didn’t have to wear shoes…  It was a little rough. 

But not as rough as it was when she biffed it slipping on a rock and ended up soaked in said icy water. 

It was a good end to the day.  But nothing a spare mommy shirt that was left in the nice warm car couldn’t solve

The girls and Luke are currently asleep in a tent in the backyard. 

I’ll keep you posted as to how that turns out.